Cheesemonger of The Year Andy Swinscoe shares ten tips for designing your own cheese wedding cake – perfect for savoury-minded brides and grooms
Cheese wedding cakes are all the rage nowadays. But, just as with any celebration cake, it’s important to get the flavours, textures and colours right. Andy Swinscoe of The Courtyard Dairy shares his tips for designing your own cheese wedding cake.
Order extra supplies of the top (smallest) tiers
As you get higher up the tiers, the cheeses get smaller – that can often mean a tiny cheese on top to split between all your guests. If you want an even selection for everyone to taste, order a few extra of these smaller ‘top-tier cheeses’ to be served once the cake is cut.
Make sure you’ve tasted everything
Taste is so important – you want people to be amazed by the cheeses in your cheese wedding cake. Good cheese shops will let you come in and taste the cheeses first. But if you don’t have a great cheese shop close by, the best ones will allow you to mail order a sample box of your selection of cheeses. The Courtyard Dairy regularly sends out sample boxes so their customers can be sure of the quality and amazing flavours on offer.
Size and colour matter too
The best cheese wedding cakes will look stunning, as well as taste amazing and, although it’s not all about the size, choose your cheeses so that the layers go up in nice increments, with at least 2cm difference in diameter between each layer. Add a bit of colour to the cake for an extra-special effect. You could use cheeses like Sparkenhoe red Leicester or Shropshire Blue, but it can also be done with fruit decorations (see below).
Try to balance styles
A cheese wedding cake shouldn’t contain cheeses that all taste the same, with the same texture. This can be a problem if you simply concentrate on the diameters of each cheese rather than the colour, texture and taste. So be careful when you’re choosing. Try to select a range of styles – at least a hard, a soft and a blue – but think about adding a goats’ cheese and a crumbly Lancashire, Cheshire, or Wensleydale too. And it’s worth noting that the harder cheeses will probably be the most popular, so you’ll want the biggest quantity of those.
Build your own
The Courtyard Dairy, and most good cheesemongers, will let you book an appointment so you can taste cheeses and create a cheese wedding cake to fit your requirements perfectly. But you may prefer to build your own. If you have a favourite cheese, you could ask your supplier to cut it in flat circles rather than the normal wedges, so you can build up tier-after-tier. If you’re thinking of building your own cheese wedding cake, take a look at The Courtyard Dairy’s cheese diameter dimensions to help you build the ideal tapering tower.
Don’t be afraid of soft cheese
Normally, a soft cheese would deform if it is underneath a pile of other cheeses. But there are a few tips and tricks you can use. One is to cut out a small circle in the centre of the soft cheese and insert an eggcup. The next layer will then rest on this, and you won’t be able to see the eggcup. If it’s a wide cheese, use three eggcups with a cake plate on top.
Add height to your cake
You can give your cake a bit of extra height in a relatively inexpensive way – simply use glass tealight holders in between each layer. This will add height to the cake and give you space to decorate.
Small can be beautiful
For something quirky, you could create individual smaller cheese wedding cakes for each table. By using two or three small cheeses – for example Tunworth Camembert topped with an individual goats’ cheese such as Dorstone – you can create a cheese table cake your guests will love.
Serve your cheese at room temperature
Cheese tastes so much better at room temperature, so make sure it’s out of the fridge a couple of hours before it’s cut. Not too long though – you don’t want the Brie running down the aisle!
How much cheese do you need?
Around 70g-100g of cheese per person is ideal for a normal cheese plate serving. If it’s to constitute a main part of the meal (as opposed to the ‘cake’ course), then double that quantity.
Finally… be safe and minimise the worry
Always order your cheese wedding cake well in advance, so you can be sure that the cheese will be perfectly ripe on the day. Make sure you get it delivered a couple of working days before the big day, so it’s one less thing to worry about.
For more information on The Courtyard Diary and the cheese wedding cakes they offer, visit the website at thecourtyarddairy.co.uk.
All cheese wedding cake images taken from thecourtyarddairy.co.uk.
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